Smehlik v. Athletes and Artists, Inc.
United States District Court for the Western District of New York
861 F. Supp. 1162 (1994)
Richard Smehlik (plaintiff), a Czechoslovakian hockey player, met with Carl Hron, a sports agent with Athletes and Artists, Inc. (A&A) (defendant) to discuss a possible relationship agreement. Hron told Smehlik that A&A could obtain a professional hockey contract with the Buffalo Sabres or another National Hockey League (NHL) team “right away.” Smehlik signed an agreement allowing A&A to act as Smehlik’s representative in negotiating an NHL contract. A&A agreed to use its “best efforts” to secure a hockey contract on Smehlik’s behalf. Approximately two years later, A&A had not obtained a hockey contract for Smehlik. Smehlik terminated his agreement with A&A and retained a different agent, who quickly arranged for Smehlik to play for the Buffalo Sabres. Smehlik sued A&A in federal district court, alleging common-law fraudulent misrepresentation. Smehlik alleged that A&A, through Hron, misrepresented the agency’s abilities and capabilities in securing an NHL contract for Smehlik. Additionally, Smehlik asserted that he reasonably relied on Hron’s representations in signing the agreement with A&A. A&A moved to dismiss Smehlik’s complaint. Specifically, A&A argued that the complaint impermissibly attempted to convert a breach-of-contract claim into an action for fraud.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Curtin, J.)
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